Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Evan at 40 months

40 months

Yesterday as I guided Evan into the bathroom to set him up on the potty, he told me, "I'm gonna poop like a monster!" I don't know what that means but I like the sound of it, so I will face every challenge from now on like a monster!


Evan's had a busy October. He got to visit Nashville twice in a week. The first trip included all five of us so we could attend Matt's cousin Scott's wedding. The second trip was with just Matt the following weekend so they could pick up our van which had to undergo extensive repairs after breaking down our first weekend there. Matt was glad to have the company on what was basically a 24-hour turnaround trip and Ev, as always, was up for the adventure. And he was the perfect, happy little traveler. We note he does especially well when he doesn't have one or both of his siblings to "compete" with.

geared up

The week before last, Evan had a scary misadventure on our front steps. It was a Thursday morning and as usual, I was a little rushed getting out the door to take Tobin to school. I sent the boys out ahead of Lauren and me--as I have many times before--so I could finish putting on her shoes. The next thing I heard was Evan crying and Tobin yelling that Ev had fallen. With Lauren on my hip, I went out to see Evan lying with his feet on the top step and the back of his head on the third step down. As I helped him up, I realized I had blood all over my hands and there was more on the steps and somehow also even on Lauren's hands! He had quite a cut on the back of his head, which had hit the edge of the brick step. I got him inside and focused on getting the bleeding to stop, which it actually did quite quickly. Luckily, the cut was pretty small too. But there had been so much blood and I hadn't actually seen him fall so I didn't have any sense of how hard he'd hit his head so I more or less panicked and herded the kids to the van to head to the ER, because I couldn't get anyone on the pediatrician's nurse line to pick up. My first clue that things weren't as bad as I imagined should have been that Evan was skipping to the van at this point--totally over the trauma of his fall. Fortunately, I got hold of my mom en route to the ER and she pointed out that since he had stopped bleeding, the cut was small and on the back of his head, and he was acting normally that I could probably just go home and monitor him. So I did go home, where I cleaned him up in the bath and changed his bloody clothes. As I calmed down, I was able to see that he was acting fine, so we got back in the car and took Tobin to school an hour late and then carried on with our day rather normally from there. While very scary at the time, I realize how fortunate he was given we have nine steps and the fall could have been much worse. It's made me extra mindful of how careful we have to be as we use those steps every single day. And maybe there's a slight silver lining here as Evan seems to pay a little more attention to my reminders to be "very careful" on the steps. At least he doesn't try to hop up or down them anymore.

go panthers! go faster!

Like Tobin, Evan's enjoying football. He loves playing soccer with Matt at Tobin's practices and games. We think he'll have a blast playing on a team of his own next fall. And he's paying more attention to football on the TV. He loves pulling for the Panthers. The only thing is that he'll remind us that the Panthers lost. Again. It goes something like "Oh the Panthers played the Bears? And the Bears won? The Panthers lost? Oh man." He likes to repeat things randomly throughout the day and the Panthers' latest loss is no exception. Also, did you know he's going to be Iron Man for Halloween? He's going to be Iron Man today? Tomorrow? Right now?

And he still likes to dance.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tobin at 77 months

77 months

Tobin’s life these days is full of reading, math and sports. His “homework” each day is to read for 30 minutes and record that in a reading log provided by his teacher. I find myself a bit wary of homework entering our lives. Tobin reads regularly on his own so this reading log is an easy task to complete but it turns into a minor power struggle each day as we debate when he should do his reading. He would prefer to do it in the time right before bedtime when we’re usually cleaning up toys. We would prefer he do it in the time before dinner, when he’d rather be playing. On a more positive note, he is proud to have a responsibility like homework. I’m hoping we can strike a balance between supporting his enthusiasm for school and reading without it feeling like an obligation. Perhaps that balance entails something like encouraging him to read to Evan and Lauren.

sunday afternoon walk/run

The babies and I end up going to the public library every few weeks, often in the morning without Tobin with us so I try to pick out books I think he will like (while keeping tabs on two very active little ones who like to hide from me among the books and/or play with the computers and/or wander into offices and study rooms). This week I ventured into the children's nonfiction section and picked out a couple of math books for him. He's enjoyed one of them especially which is all about "big" numbers, using peas to illustrate quantity. Peas as objects might provide some continuity with the math lessons he is learning at school using beads. I've seen them in his class and done some Googling to gain a very rudimentary understanding that the beads are used to teach numbers as units and then buil from there. So the other day Matt was remarking on Tobin's Steve Smith Panthers jersey (seen above) about how he liked the number 89 because 8 was a cube, 9 was a square and if you added 8 plus 9 it was a prime number. When Matt said this he thought he was introducing the idea of cubes but Tobin said, "Oh, you mean like how 3 cubed is 27, 4 cubed is 64?" He then cubed every number up to 7 (343) but apologized that he couldn't remember 8 cubed. He was trying to explain to us how using the beads taught him this, which I'm not sure we quite get but we are impressed. And we need to learn more about these beads!


Ever the numbers guy, Tobin will tell you that his soccer team is 4-4 so far this season. Tobin plays in an under-8 league this year. Two years ago he played under-5 and last year, under-6 but for some reason, this year they have six and seven year olds playing together. Naturally, there can be quite a difference in size spanning those two years and Tobin remains on the smaller side. The fields are about twice as big this year too. All of this results in a slightly more organized "chaos" of a game and less scoring for everybody. We've encountered very few kids who can take over a game and seemingly score at will, like we did over the last two years. Tobin even had a breakout game last year in which he scored seven goals. This year he's yet to score a goal. But he's having fun nonetheless and is particularly excited that he's gotten to play goalie for at least part of the last few games. At home, Tobin is enjoying keeping up with American football, pulling for the Panthers in the NFL and UNC in college ball. He also maintains a fairly elaborate imaginary league, which he gives us updates on each and every morning. He shows us highlights using his set of 32 NFL helmets to illustrate.

fossil hunter

Tobin recently told Matt, “I try to help Mom whenever I can. Like I help her by going to school, because when I’m at school she has less work to do at home.” As you might imagine, having my sweet, thoughtful boy home--like he was yesterday for a teacher workday--feels like less work for me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lauren at 16 months

16 months

The best thing in the world these days? Having Lauren run into my arms to give me a sustained hug, patting my back all the while. She does it everyday to Matt too when he gets home. Her “run” is more of an ever-quickening walk but she’s steadier on her still-chubby legs everyday. She also loves to give kisses at bedtime, although she sometimes prefers to keep her personal space and just blow kisses.


Her emerging upright mobility has her very interested in the world outside our front door and in the world apart from my arms on the ground. She likes to bring me her shoes (“shh-shhs”) and after I put them on she goes and stands by the front door. I have to disappoint her sometimes because I’m not ready to leave the house as frequently as she would like.

ready to go

But when we do go out, as we did to Tobin’s soccer game on a perfectly gorgeous afternoon this past Saturday, she squeals and points and squirms to get out of my arms. In past weeks, I’ve been able to keep Lauren safely in her stroller--plied with snacks and water--for most of the game, which allows me to watch the game. But this time she demanded immediately to get down, so I started following her around while Tobin’s team was still doing pre-game warm-ups. Following her around was more of a chase-and-scoop. My efforts to keep her focused on playing with a soccer ball or picking up leaves on the ground were largely unsuccessful. (Matt and Evan were out of town, so there was no they couldn't to help distract/corral her.) She was much more interested in trying to run on the field or figure out how to get through the net from the back of the goal. She adorably and boldly approached some of the other younger siblings on the sidelines. One was a three-year-old boy kicking a ball with his grandpa. He was concerned about why "that baby was pointing at [him]." Lauren just squealed and tried to take his ball, causing him to retreat elsewhere. Another person of interest was a four-year-old girl who was wearing a unicorn horn and tail, courtesy of just-finished birthday party. Much to her chagrin, Lauren never got to inspect the horn as thoroughly as she would have liked. While Lauren tends to be mostly shy with adults, she appears drawn to and fascinated by other kids.


One of the few times Lauren stayed in one place during the game was when Tobin sat out for half of the last quarter. She sweetly walked up to Tobin sitting on the sideline, patted his head and then plopped down beside him. They both drank from their water bottles snuggled on the sideline. It was an impossibly poignant moment that displays the tenderness of their relationship. Lauren adores Tobin, and he basks in that adoration and reciprocates. He’s her biggest fan, noting her walking (“Mom, she’s almost running!”) and talking (“She just said ‘Ta-Ta’ for ‘Tobin.’ Aw!”) accomplishments of late. Lauren’s attachment to her big-big brother is evident every school morning too. Her whining when he steps out of the van at school drop-off has progressed to full-fledged crying. It makes my mama heart swell and break all at once.

she loves these pots.

In addition to keeping tabs on Tobin, Lauren is keenly observing other things too. The other day Evan was telling Matt he wanted to play his favorite card game "Unos!" Lauren, hearing her brother's unique pronunciation, cleverly started pointing to her nose. At dinner last night, Evan was pointing out the number five on his water bottle and Lauren, without missing a beat, held up her little hand and said "high five!" She then proceeded to solicit a high-five from me after every bite of her beans and rice. In further efforts to cement her position as most adorable in the house, she's gotten in on a favorite late-afternoon/pre-dinner activity: tacklin' Daddy.

Lauren is literally and figuratively tackling her expanding world these days. Note here how she changes the game on Daddy. I couldn't be prouder!